09.12.2005 Business & Finance

57 million-euro loan for Ghana

09.12.2005 LISTEN

Accra, Dec. 9, GNA - Ghana Government on Friday signed two separate loan agreements with Germany and the Netherlands for an amount of 57.22 million euros for various developmental projects.

The Federal Republic of Germany provided 40.5 million euros while the Netherlands gave 17.17million euros to the Ghanaian Government. The 40.5 million euro German loan comprises a 36.5 million euro concession loan to be utilized on financial cooperation projects, a 3.5million euros interest-free loan to fund micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and a 500,000-euro grant.

The 17.17 million euros provided by the Netherlands Government comprised a 10.20 million euro loan and 6.97 million euro grant and would finance the 120 in-patient bed capacity Gushiegu District Hospital project with an initial provision of 85 beds.

Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who signed for the Ghana, said the German loan would be used specifically for the construction of rural bridges, feeder roads, the Achimota-Ofankor road and promotion of out-grower schemes. Thirteen million euros of the amount would go into budgetary support under the Multi-Donor Budget Support (MDBS) programme.

"It is worthy to note that the amount committed to the MDBS programme has been increased by 100 per cent from the original 6.5 million to 13 million euros," he said. He described the loan as a "cheap"; saying, the interest rate was 0.75 per cent per annum at a 25 per cent commitment fee, a repayment period of 30 years with a 10-year grace period.

Dr Akoto Osei said Parliament had already approved the two loan facilities and the Ministry was waiting legal backing of the Attorney - General to warrant the application of the funds. He told the country's development partners and the people of Ghana of the Government's total accountability and transparency in the application of the loan facilities.

"We are ready to open our books and show you the records anytime you ask for them"

Mr Peter Linder, German Ambassador, who signed on behalf of his government, said the commitment added up to a total of more than one billion euros since the beginning of Bilateral Development Co-operation between Ghana and Germany.

He said Germany had also forgiven Ghana more than 247.3 million euros bilateral debts after Ghana reached the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point in February 2005. Mr Linder expressed the hope that the funds would be applied judiciously and be properly accounted for.

Mr Marius W. de Jong, First Secretary, Health and Gender of Netherlands Embassy, signed on behalf of his government and entreated the Ghana Government to train sufficient clinical staff to man the Gushiegu District Hospital.

Earlier on, Dr Akoto Osei swore into office Nana Osei Bonsu as the Chief Executive and Administrator of the Government's newly established Venture Capital Fund (VCF) to support small and medium scale enterprises and start up business ventures.

The Minister said VCF had been given a new office at the Premier Tower and hopefully they would move into it by next week to serve the public more efficiently.

Dr Nii Noi Ashong, Chairman of the Fund, expressed the hope that with the induction of the new Chief Executive, the fund would be fully operational by January next year. Nana Bonsu pledged his commitment to the mandate given him and appealed to the media to publicise the fund to enable the public to access it. 09-12-05

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